I’ve been migrating to a daily breakfast of oatmeal… but for time-reasons I ate cold cereal this morning. My heart is broken beyond despair.
#100happydays #dailyhappy (10/100) …being woken up on a Saturday morning to a pancake breakfast and discovering it was the six-year-old who did the cooking.
#100happydays #dailyhappy (2/100) …an “i love you daddy” note from Claire waiting for me on the couch after breakfast.
Papa bear’s porridge was too hot this morning… No, really. And now I’m nursing a very painful scald on a couple of fingers. #burned #literally
It’s Saturday morning. As tradition dictates it is now time to cook up some chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.
Dad… Dad… Dad, I’m hungry. Can you make me some crepes?
This is another post from my “Daddy Daze” series, an anecdotal exploration of my odd little adventures in parenting in bite-sized chunks (for your reading enjoyment) and because the last thing this world needs is yet another doting parent blog.
Spring arrived. Sort of. And with it a scheduling clash that left Claire off school for a full day and myself off work for my every-other-weekly compressed schedule day off. With it the girl — who normally would require an industrial strength wake-up-call on your standard, run-of-the-mill Friday morning — was chipper and actively prowling the house shortly after six this morning. Parenting-by-iPad ensued, and I caught another hour of sleep on a rare I-don’t-need-to-be-anywhere weekday morning.
But eventually I relented, crawled out of bed, showered, and kicked yet another edition of Daddy Day into full gear.
Back when Claire was younger we had this thing. I had a fairly regular day off while she was between the ages of one and three-ish, and of course she had no obligation to be anywhere. It was just a day away from the dayhome — which was bonus-plus-one in my retroactive opinion. Our routine was to prowl the city and get a few chores done, yeah, but we’d frequently kick start our morning with an el-cheap-o breakfast at Ikea.
Ikea food is nothing worth writing about. There is a reason the breakfast costs 99 cents. But then, hey, it’s a breakfast for 99 cents. And we’d kill an hour on a weekday morning eating some reconstituted eggs and some this-probably-isn’t-real-meat sausages, while I chilled out at the parent’s bar overlooking the kids area.
Ikea was our thing for a while. And even two years after that was a regular thing, Claire still seems to hold onto it as a daddy day thing.
Little wonder we found ourselves standing in line at the doors of the big blue box store a few minutes before it opened, securing our place amongst the mixed hoards — other parents, seniors, university students, and us — all partaking in the grand tradition of exploiting a mega-corporation’s loss-leader promotional breakfast: dining for cheap and not actually spending any money at the store.
But, so it doesn’t seem like a complete extravagance, I should note that our visit to Ikea was tucked in there nice and neat among a short list of actual, useful morning chores.
We paid a visit to the bottle depot, returning fourteen bucks worth of empty containers (mostly milk jugs and beer bottles as we don’t go in for soda lately). Claire was the real winner there. I offered her the payola on condition of her helping me load and unload the car, honestly not thinking the refund would top ten bucks. Boy, was I wrong. I paid for breakfast AND she got my bottle money. How does that work?
Later, the poor girl had to sit through my haircut.
This was exactly the third time that she’s come along to the hairdressers with me. And I’ll never understand the fascination. I mean, I suppose there is something curious and captivating about watching your parent — I don’t know what — groom? Do normal human things? Receive a mundane service like a haircut?
She stood to the side, took in every second of the process, and made sure to giggle, point, and provide a running commentary on every intermediate stage of my new doo.
The last chore on our morning list was to wash the car. Usually I’d be really lazy and run it through one of those automated, drive through washes. I mean, the thing is — and despite my rigorous upbringing to the contrary — I wash my car as little as possible. Keeping the thing shiny and gleaming is neither (a) in my nature or (b) aligned with how I feel about using all those resources to do just that. But whatever: the whole thing is a kind of balancing point, of maintaining the car in a state of function, upkeep and safe operation while not going overkill on the detailing. But over the last couple weeks it had reached a point where it needed a wash. Needed.
Claire assisted. I won’t say she helped, though there was an attempt made at doing so.
Having cajoled me out of fourteen bucks, and needing to go to the toy store anyhow to pick up a gift for yet-another-friends-birthday-party tomorrow morning, I found myself standing in line at Toys R Us later that morning, a stack of Lego products in my hand.
Claire spent some of her “hard earned” cash on a little kit of her own — and conservatively so, I might add: she only spent part of it and “dad, I want to save some for another toy another day.” So, I guess that means she got some DNA from her mother after all.
I, on the other hand, splurged a little bit and bought a kit for a red dinosaur and — since I’d been looking for one — a big, square, flat surface piece because we didn’t have one of those.
By the time we got home and had lunch we were both itching to build some Legos, so I watched from the side as Claire built her little Lego Friends kit and then a little later we built the dinosaur together and made sure that the — perfect-to-scale, I might add — T-Rex made his lunch out of some of the Lego Friends.
Of course, this is very much a light and passing summary as — evidenced by the photos — we had a good and thorough play of Legos after lunch, and made some good work of our imaginations. And while the plan was originally to play Legos, clean the dog run, and then hit up the swimming pool for some splash-time… plans change, and we opted to take the dog and do some…
It’s been a late spring. Oh, man has it been a late spring.
To make it worse, winter arrived early last year, so calling this cold season we’ve just passed through a tough, long, epic slog is something of an understatement.
I needed some fresh air. Claire needed some fresh air. The poor dog practically clawed her way through the window when she realized we were taking her to the off-leash park five minutes into our drive.
Now… I don’t want to call my daughter a wimp when it comes to nature. But I’ll be the first to tell you that in summers past she’s tended to balance out on the side of, well, being a bit of a princess about the outdoors. Walks were too long. Mud was too dirty. Trees were too pokey. And… well, you get the idea.
Today something switched. I don’t know what. I don’t know how. But she was the one taking the roads less traveled, the same roads that led us through a muddy and wet exploration to find the old hollowed out tree that she remembered from last year, that had us hot in pursuit of clues to locate a beaver lodge in a small water basin after tracking a progression of his gnawed tree stumps, and the same trails that found us bushwhacking through some scrubby hills trying to locate a Geocache I had thought to pull up on my phone.
That’s right, Claire did her first Geocache today and she loved it… wouldn’t stop talking about it all the way home and all the way to piano class a half hour later… and is planning our next “treasure hunt.”
But after that little adventure through the muddy park, my car needs another wash… just on the inside this time. Though, maybe after I recover from one epic and awesome daddy day, and get some sleep, too.
This is another post from my ‘Daddy Daze‘ series, an anecdotal exploration of my odd little adventures in parenting in bite-sized chunks (for your reading enjoyment) and because the last thing this world needs is yet another doting parent blog.
We’ve had a busy week. We had some family, road-trip travel. Kindergarten started. Piano lessons revved back into gear. And the official birthday party planning has begun. We’ve also been digging on many foods, fresh, new and sometimes just comfortably familiar. See, there is something nice about the end of summer after all…
Of course, it’s September so the garden — despite the hail of a couple months ago — is really starting to pump out the vegetables. We’ve been eating so many fresh potatoes, I’m certainly glad I opted to NOT cut starch from my diet back when I started my training. And then there are the carrots. Do we have carrots? We have carrots. What I had once thought was a devastated carrot crop has turned out to be a bumper crop, and for the first year in a while not grazed on by the mice. Claire has her own little patch of both the orange and purple varieties, and our evening activities these days seems to include a lot of our own grazing, plucking the straight from the soil, giving them a quick rinse, and munching away right there in the backyard.
Rice and Brown Sugar
Karin had some sort of dance show this weekend, so she’s been out of the house for a couple practice sessions this past week, and right around supper time, too. It’s not exactly kosher with her mom, but my little treat for when Claire and I are left at home to fend for ourselves is to add a little ethnic flair to our meals. This comes in the form of something I was raised — and told for most of my life — to understand was a “Dutch” thing (given that my ancestry is half of the same.) White rice with a bit of melted butter and a scoop of brown sugar was pretty much a staple in our house growing up, and I’ve introduced it to Claire along the way. Karin tends to frown on the dish, but she knows it’s fair game when it’s daddy-daughter date night and I’m in charge of the menu. Somehow that particular meal always disappears quite quickly…
It being Saturday, and the first weekend in a while we weren’t off-and-about or crazy-busy, we got back into our regular routine of chocolate chip pancakes. I think my helper was a little pre-occupied watching Netflix, but we’ll remedy that for next time. Needless to say, I think everyone was happy to see that particular family meal back on the rotation after a scattered summer with far less routine.
Gouda with Cumin
Another more-obviously “Dutch” tradition from my childhood is cheese. It would be hard to deny that spiced Gouda has a tenuous link back to the homelands of my grandparents, and somehow we often seem to have a wedge of this particular treat in our refrigerator. And as tonight was leftover night, I found myself pulling the little bit of the current wedge from the crisper and dropping it onto the table with the other assorted scavenged dinner-bits. Claire has never shown much interest in cheese — at least not beyond the cheddar or “american” varieties — but something caught her interest tonight. One sample later and she couldn’t get enough of the stuff. We nearly polished off the rest of that wedge and I think my mother-in-law — who too often is the one delivering those particular treats to our house — might need to know we seem to have another cheese-fiend living here now.
Also… there are a bunch of new photos in my gallery of this afternoon’s walk around Terwillegar Park. A generous black & white collection, just for something different.
Ah, June… Summer is at our doorstep, the days are (almost all of them) seeming to get a little bit longer, and for the second year in a row I am partaking in my daily blogging exercise, marginally focused along a theme I’ve simply called Those 30 posts in June. No planning. No writing stuff days ahead. Just this: each day a meanderingly vague prompt drives a meanderingly vague post… and today that post just happens to be:
June 5th // Something You Have Eaten
Sunday was an egg-kind-of-a-day. And it all started with a long run in the sun…
Story #1: Hard Boiled Pairs
The thing about running with a group is that you end up spending a lot of time with random people you would otherwise have very little in common with. What brings you together is your interest in the sport, which is then — often — an hour or more of time when you are trotting around a neighborhood for the fifty-seventh time trying to hold a conversation about something other than the weather, the scenery or the running itself.
Often, we talk about food.
On Sunday we were talking about eggs.
See, one of the guys I run with is a — well, let’s just call him urban blue collar. He does carpentry or something and works from his shop in his garage, conveniently located near to a 7-11 convenience store.
He was explaining to us that one of his favorite snack breaks is to walk over to the 7-11 and pick up a grape Slurpee and two hard boiled eggs — 99 cents for a pair — an anecdote that was greeted not with the eye-rolling curiosity I would have expected from some of my less adventurous running companions, but instead with a methematics lesson and fairly involved debate on the economics of buying eggs in larger quantities than two.
Consensus was not reached, but it did leave me to interject with my own support for Slurpee-and-Egg guy in the form of…
Story #2: Eggs By Weight
I might have mentioned that I’ve been eating a lot more salad lately. I don’t always eat out at lunch, but lately when I do it has largely become an exercise in designing a creative and tasty salad from the Sunterra Salad Bar. My favoutite combination to date includes an eclectic mix of the following: lettuce, sprouts, shrimp, a few cubes of ham, chick peas, purple onion, mandarin orange slices, sesame orange dressing, and… a hard boiled egg.
I don’t actually know how much those hard boiled eggs costs me, but I think I’ve probably consumed enough in the past few months to have made any exercise in boiling-a-dozen and refridgerating the economically sensible alternative.
Though, like my running bud, that’s not going to happen.
Why? Well, apart from the fact that making harb boiled eggs at work is neither an easily facilitated activity nor a particularly productive use of my time, even if my eggs are actually costing me fifty cents a piece — or six bucks a dozen — having a ready supply of cooked, peeled, and nicely-chilled eggs handy a few hundred feet down the mall is a “value added” (as they say in the agriculture industry) option I’m willing to pay for.
I related my story of pre-boiled-egg consumption to the others in the group, but by that time the egg conversation had pretty much fizzled and I was headed home for…
Story #3: Eggs Dipped
I don’t know that I’ve mentioned it much before, but my grandparents owned an egg farm. Yeah… thousands of hens in a big red barn, their eggs dropping onto an elaborate conveyor belt system that led to a collection, cleaning and sorting room where my grandfather and a couple of my uncles spent years of their lives. I spent a few summers there, and since they sold and moved when I was still not-quite-a-teenager, my memories of the family farm are largely idealistic or re-constructed from family stories and grainy photographs.
I was telling Claire a little about her family history as she delicately mopped up bits of runny yolk with little snatches of toast and popped them into her mouth.
Apparently a four year old can not only enjoy a good egg, but can also hold a very specific cooking-style preference for her eggs. She likes them sunny-side-over, with the yolks runny enough to dip. Lucky for her I’ve cooked enough eggs in my life to fulfill such particular requests.
I had come home from a twelve kilometer Sunday morning run and — not having eaten much before the jaunt — had attempted to fill my famished gullet with a late breakfast of some fried eggs and toast (all that egg talk had got me craving eggs, I guess.)
Claire wasn’t going to let that slide without getting in on the action, and made herself a piece of toast and politely informed me which of the cooking eggs was hers.
And so, together, we ate some eggs and talked for long while about her family history… at least as it related to eggs.
This is another post from my “Daddy Daze” series, an anecdotal exploration of my odd little adventures in parenting in bite-sized chunks (for your reading enjoyment) and because the last thing this world needs is yet another doting parent blog.
Today she compensated for her lack of entertainment as any kid should: by using her little brain. And she followed me around for the morning sketching little pictures of what we were doing together.
Our morning started off with a bit of sleep-in. The whole idea of time (and telling time) still confuses Claire a little bit. So, needless to say, the concept of Daylight Savings Time makes no sense. Why I was changing all the clocks after I woke up this morning had her asking lots of questions.
She had it all sussed, however, and sketched me here at the table doing something to a clock — or reverse engineering the universe with my epic time-bending skills; Either way, my explanation of DST may have been a little lacking so early in the morning — and particularly with (still) no coffee to assist me. (The tea, no matter how caffeinated, just doesn’t cut it…)
As the morning wore on and — my daughter insisting I should really have something to eat — I scrounged in our (as yet) grocery challenged fridge for something to make for breakfast. I settled on grilling up some slightly stale bread with some eggs. The butter and the grill kinda kill the staleness part, and the eggs just make it yummy.
Claire, of course, thought this was spectacularly great. She’s a bit of an egg fiend, and promptly sketched out a breakfast fit for a king in the pages of her little book. A half-dozen eggs are matched up with a couple slices of toast and some very crinkly bacon. Can you picture it. Too bad I didn’t have any real bacon. Alas, the imagination outstrips the pantry.
I don’t know where the tie always comes in. I rarely wear one, but somehow I’m often wearing one in her pictures.
I’ve alluded in some recently past posts about being ill. I’m fairly certain it has been a bit of a moderately frustrating touch of the flu. As such, we’ve been laying low for much of the weekend, hanging out close to home and out of any sort of high-energy activity.
So what, you ask?
Ah, well… the frustration of our self-induced confinement was compounded because we were punishing Claire (for talking back and not eating her dinner) by restricting her television privileges for the whole weekend.
Instead of TV, we escaped to the basement to play.
This might take a bit of explanation. A couple years ago when we were renovating our basement we bought a really nifty roll of wallpaper from some guy in the UK. It has all sorts of little repeating shapes and doodles. If you’ve been to our house you might have seen that we’ve hung it up on the wall of our downstairs office.
Every once in a while I go down there and colour the walls.
We recently cashed in some gift cards and bought ourselves some new markers for this purpose. The old ones were drying up — like they do after a while — and the new ones are pretty awesome.
Doing her own art, I thought this picture was pretty cool: It’s me sitting on the floor of the office colouring the wall. How’s that for drawing what you see?
Claire loves Minecraft. I’ve mentioned before that we play together — as much as that is possible with her sitting on my lap directing the construction of elaborate structures.
We played for a while this morning, all the while she sat there sketching pictures of creepers and zombies. But I particularly liked this drawing: she was designing the treehouse I was supposed to be building for her.
You’ll notice it has multiple levels, beds for both of us to rest in, and a flower.
Of course, I tried my best to apply my construction skills to oblige her request.
… and a roundup of the weekend events.
It’s been no secret around our house that those official daddy-days have been in quiet jeopardy for some time now. Between that little stint of unemployment last summer, and the uncertainty of a job change, through the peppered consumption of my flexible days off for use during our more formal vacations over the winter, it has been a wonder that we’ve had any at all in the last months. But we have. This past Friday both the latest, and possibly the last.
Of course, it is not exactly confirmed right now, but my suspicions — what with upcoming weekend plans, little trips here and there, and the Fringe Festival in August — the next likely candidate day for our beloved daddy days seems to be lingering off in September. And, of course, in September Claire starts preschool. So, a full day off to puddle around the city doing father-daughter-type things is looking rather unlikely.
We filled our last daddy-day — the seemed last of the series — with some early morning swimming, breakfast at Ikea, some toddling around the town to pick up a package, a quiet lunch, a nap (for both of us), a trip back to the recreation centre to play at the indoor playground, and topped it off with a visit to the library. It was a full day.
And we’ll miss them if that was to be our last. I won’t be telling her, though. It would break her heart to hear it, and mine to admit it. I’ll just say this: we’ll figure out a new way to do the same thing. It’s not over, it’s just going to be different from now on I think.
Of course, the weekend following has been a blur, too.
Claire and Karin both performed in their final dance shows. Claire — witnessed by both sets of grandparents and her mom and dad — completed a whole three minutes on stage as a wee little dancing garden gnome, and (much to her parent’s relief) did not flee the stage nor freeze in fright while dancing. She did her parents proud, in fact.
This morning, while I went out for a fourteen klick run, Karin, Claire, and my folks went out for breakfast. The run went well, and it preps both my mind and temper for the upcoming 15K race on Canada Day, July 1st, this Friday.
We dropped by the Telus World of Science this afternoon with Ella and Xavier to check out the Sesame Street – The Body exhibit, which the kids loved and tore up for a good hour and a half before we dragged them out (nearly kicking and screaming).
We thought the evening was over, but Claire hooked up with the neighbor kids, Leann and Owen, after her and Karin got back from a bike ride, and the kids played “avoid the parents” for about an hour before we decided to call it a night and head inside for some rest.
It’s been busy.
For the entire month of June I’m planning on writing a series of blog-a-day posts based on a set series of open-ended questions to myself. This is one of those posts.
June 1st // Something You Have Decided
Of course, I would have started with something difficult, wouldn’t I?
Decision is such a specific word, yet it can encompass all manner of things. For example, I decided to have cereal for breakfast this morning because it was easier than getting out the toaster. Or, I decided to stop at the bank earlier because I was out of cash and figured I was going to want lunch later in the day and all the really good food is sold by people who can’t be bothered with debit card transactions for some reason. I could also note that I’ve decided to start blogging again — something I’ve already written profusely upon — and it being the first of June today I am obviously closing in on a whole month since making that decision. But something tells me, having pieced together these questions quite recently, that these types of decisions are either too simple or too meta for this particular project.
Instead, I’ll explain about the walk I went on yesterday with the dog.
It was not a particularly interesting walk other than three simple confluences of reality: (1) my ankle issues that I supposed were caused by running seem to have more of a cause-effect relationship with the orthotic nature of my everyday shoes, (2) the sandals I wore walking were aggravating said ankle, and (3) the City had just swept the asphalt trail around the perimeter of the park that the dog and I generally use for walking so they were nice and clean, free of almost all debris. So, sore ankle and clean sidewalks underfoot, I pulled off the sandals and proceeded to walk most of the kilometer loop around the park barefoot. The ankle felt great, though the soles of my feet were slightly grey at the end.
So, what have I decided from this adventure? Well, obviously, new shoes are in order. And I have decided that perhaps I’d like to buy-and-try a pair of those barefoot shoes that have been all the rage for the last couple years. What? You haven’t heard of barefoot shoes? One company, Vibram, that manufactures is described by Wikipedia along the lines of “…footwear [that] has thin, flexible soles that are contoured to the shape of the human foot, including visible individual sections for the toes. Vibram FiveFingers are meant to replicate being barefoot and allow for the natural biomechanics of the foot to work.” Though, whether any of that is scientifically proven aside, my own recent experiments in personal orthotic choices leads me to think I might benefit from some barefoot-ish walking. Thus, I’ve decided to hunt out a pair of these shoes and see how they fit my lifestyle for the summer.
And that’s that.